Posted in Inclusion 7 months ago
Hundreds of people descended upon Oakwell for day one of the European Association for Sport and Social Integration (EASI) World Cup today.
The tournament brings together groups of people from across Europe and the globe, with the second and final day of the competition taking place on Thursday.
EASI is a group made up of health and community groups from 12 European countries who promote sport to improve the well-being of people with mental health issues and learning disabilities.
Each year, they host a football tournament which brings together teams and aids social integration through the power of sport.
Tuesday began with an opening ceremony, which saw Hoyland Community Choir sing a fantastic rendition of ‘you’ll never walk alone’ before the Major of Barnsley, Cllr Steve Green, formally opened the event.
25 Sides were allocated a country to represent, before being split into five groups, with the top two in each qualifying for Thursday’s knock-out stage.
Teams representing Iran, England, Russia and South Korea all qualified by winning every game while Japan were also unbeaten in topping Group C.
Spain, Australia, Portugal, Egypt and Germany will complete the knock-out stages having finished as respective runners-up.
Players in the teams came from a combination of local football club trusts and refugee side ‘African Tigers’ as well as from Scotland, Norway and the Netherlands.
The football tournament wasn’t the only event being run at Oakwell, with penalty shoot-outs and other competitions taking place alongside bouncy castles and face painting on the indoor pitch.